The blurb for the new book, A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media – in production with Polity due in spring 2020 has been decided on…
Positing online users as ‘sleepwalkers’, Tony Sampson offers an original and compelling approach for understanding how social media platforms produce subjectivities.
Drawing on a wide range of theorists, including A.N. Whitehead and Gabriel Tarde, he provides tools to track his sleepwalker through the ‘dark refrain of social media’: a refrain that spreads through viral platform architectures with a staccato-like repetition of shock events, rumours, conspiracy, misinformation, big lies, search engine weaponization, data voids, populist strongmen, immune system failures, and far-right hate speech. Sampson’s sleepwalker is not a pre-programmed smartphone junkie, but a conceptual personae intended to dodge capture by data doubles and lookalikes. Sleepwalkers are neither asleep nor wide awake; they are a liminal experimentation in collective mimicry and self-other relationality. Their purpose is to stir up a new kind of community that emerges from the potentialities of revolutionary contagion.
At a time in which social media is influencing more people than ever, A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media is an important reference for students and scholars of media theory, digital media and social media.